Patient case histories

Scope and Content

There are 6 notebooks of case histories for individual patients. The notebooks contain manuscript notes in pencil (mostly in Rodger's handwriting but some of the notes may have been written by patients or other doctors). While the books contain brief notes on the patients condition and mental health problems at the beginning they seem to focus on the patients' thoughts and dreams and an analysis of these thoughts dreams.

The words "association" and "free association" appears a lot in these notebooks. Free association is a technique which was devised by Sigmund Freud and used in psychoanalysis. Patients are invited to relate whatever comes into their minds during the analytic session, and not to censor their thoughts. This technique is intended to help the patient learn more about what he or she thinks and feels, in an atmosphere of non-judgmental curiosity and acceptance. The method of free association has no linear or preplanned agenda, but works by intuitive leaps and linkages which may lead to new personal insights and meanings. This technique is intended to help the patient learn more about what he or she thinks and feels, in an atmosphere of non-judgmental curiosity and acceptance.

Therefore it is likely that Rodger was using "free association" to examine and treat his patients and encouraged them to write down their thoughts and dreams so that they could be discussed during these session. In one notebook there are also some pages titled "association test" where words are given and the patient response (and the time taken to give a response) is noted.

Notebooks are bound but there are a lot of loose sheets of paper inserted between the pages. It is likely that Rodger was scribbling down these notes during sessions with the patient which may explain why his handwriting is particulary difficult to decipher in these notebooks. Patient initials are written on the front cover of each notebook.

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